HOUSTON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Houston Rockets' last quarter surge helped the team blow past the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98 at Toyota Center Saturday night.
New Orleans warmed up quickly in the first quarter, grabbing the first five consecutive points. But they failed to maintain the momentum and were overtaken by Houston, who had a 13-2 run in the last minutes and led 31-22 in the first period.
The Pelicans returned to the second quarter with a strong play, however. They effectively settled in their defensive rotations to contest the Rockets shooters. It had a significant impact on the Rockets, who made only 33.3 percent of their shots in the quarter and allowed the Pelicans to go into the tie at 52 in halftime.
The Rockets still failed to dominate over the Pelicans in the third quarter. The two teams had a tug of war and led alternatively. Houston narrowly led by one point 74-73 at the end of the quarter.
Jeremy Lin, who had missed all shots in the first three quarters, woke up in the fourth. He scored all 10 of his points, and James Harden made 11 of his 21 points in the quarter.
The Pelicans had chances to top the Rockets, but their opponents proved more effective in offense and dashed their hope. After Harden scored a crucial 3-pointer with 3:14 to regain the lead, Houston didn't give any opportunity to New Orleans.
Dwight Howard grabbed 24 points and 18 rebounds. Chandler Parsons chipped in 19 points and 7 boards. Terrence Jones had 17 points.
Ryan Anderson led the Pelicans with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Anthony Davis had 18 and 16.
With the win, the Rockets have improved to 21-11 on the season. The Pelicans are 13-15.